2) A nice Remus mentors Harry fic, with some angst, then resolution and no Remus/Harry. (I've never quite gotten past the whole "he was their teacher" thing.)
Remus! Harry! I can do that. :)
It was the fourteenth of August, and outside, the heat was sweltering--suffocating, actually, with eighty percent humidity in London--but if there was a blessing to the gloomy kitchen of Number 12, Grimmauld Place, it was that such things were quite easily left unknown. The dank room held a kind of clammy coolness which wasn't especially pleasant, but was certainly more workable than the sunny soup above.
Harry Potter rubbed at the middle of his forehead, but for once it wasn't because his scar was troubling him. It was a headache, plain and simple, and getting quite bad enough to make the text of the open books fanned around him seem wavy and distorted. He took his glasses off and pressed his fingers against his eyes.
The door opened upstairs, and Mrs. Black wailed, "MURDEROUS BEAST! UNNATURAL, FILTHY CREATURE! KILLER!" Variations of this had met every member of the Order who had arrived at Grimmauld Place since Sirius's death--she seemed to spend a lot of time sobbing oil paint tears--but beast and filthy creature were particular to Lupin. Harry was the only regular visitor the household who she didn't accuse; he suspected that Tonks, who owned the place (in theory), had threatened her in some way if she tried it.
Lupin appeared at the top of the stairs, a sack of groceries under his arm. He came down and set it on the table, starting to unpack. "Are you all right?" he asked.
"Headache," Harry said.
Lupin pointed his wand casually in Harry's direction. "Lenio," he said. "Is that better?"
The headache didn't lift completely, but it had settled into a dull throb behind Harry's eyes, so he nodded. "I'll have to learn that."
"It's useful. Not very strong, but useful. The problem with the really strong spells is that they can really throw you off." Lupin nodded at the books. He looked a bit amused. "Have you found the books useful?"
"I can't make any sense of them. This one"--Harry picked up a Muggle book--"says I should try to keep everyone at the same level. But this one"--he picked up another--"says I'm to reward the ones who do especially well, and then that other one--I can't find it--says that I should never do that because it will make people jealous. And then the wizarding books don't even tell me what order I'm supposed to put things in."
Lupin laughed and sat down across from him, closing and stacking the books with a wave of his wand. "Sorry, Harry. You had to discover that for yourself."
Harry frowned at him. "But they all say different things. And all of them have all sorts of people saying they're right."
"Well, they're all right."
"But they say entirely different things!" Harry sighed. "Isn't there a spell or something? A 'teach them' Charm?"
"I'd go with the Latin," Lupin said. "Erudio. It still won't do anything, but it will sound much more impressive."
Lupin shook his head. "Harry, listen to me. There's no Charm, and there's no magic theory that's going to work for every student. You'll drive yourself mad trying to find one. And this is the same thing you did last year. Ginny and Neville both told me you were quite good at it."
"No one was watching me last year. Maybe I was doing it all wrong."
"Did they learn?"
"Well... I suppose..."
"Is there something else you think matters more?"
Harry thought about it and shook his head, but it didn't help the queasy feeling in his stomach. When Dumbledore had first asked him to lead a Practical Defense class after hours--in addition to the regular Defense Against the Dark Arts class and not really regulated by the Ministry--he'd been happy to say yes, but the closer it got and the more he realized that adults would be watching him this time, and they'd know if he was just making it up, as he had in Dumbledore's Army.
Lupin put the groceries away without saying anything else. It was habit by now; Harry had been here for a week, and they seemed to spend a lot of time in the kitchen not actually talking. Hermione kept writing and insisting that they should have a great long conversation about "things" (by which Harry knew she meant "Sirius"), but he couldn't even imagine starting one. They'd had a brief talk back in July, in which Lupin had urged him to keep using the Firebolt and try to get back into his life, but he hadn't felt much of an urge to have another, and Lupin didn't seem in any rush for it, either.
Lupin finished with the groceries and sat down again. "All right," he said. "Tell me about your teachers."
"You know my teachers."
"I want to hear what you know about them. When you think about Minerva McGonagall, what comes to mind?"
"Don't have swordfights in the back of class. And know what she told you about."
Harry looked at him dully. He didn't want to talk about Snape.
"Harry, every teacher you've ever had has taught you about teaching. And I know for a fact you've learned a lot from Severus, however much you dislike him."
"He really knows about Potions," Harry said grudgingly. "He knows what mistakes I make just by looking at the cauldron."
"She, er... loves plants."
Lupin suppressed a smile. "I suppose it's difficult being put on the spot. But I promise, you've learned something from all of them."
Lupin looked up at the ceiling and blinked for a few seconds, then shrugged. "I'm sure there was something. Dueling. He taught you to duel. And you have used that."
Harry flashed on the graveyard, on Voldemort asking if he'd been taught to duel properly, and shuddered. "All right. But he taught it badly."
Lupin laughed. "The point, Harry, is that you learned something from all of them, but they all teach differently. Teaching isn't about theories." He Banished the books to a high shelf. "It's not even entirely about students. It's about you. If you're not teaching in a way that makes sense to you, you're going to do it badly."
"Lockhart made sense to himself."
"Yes, well. Lockhart was a bad teacher. It happens. Teaching isn't a universal talent. You're not a bad teacher. Your instincts are good. You should trust them."
Harry didn't say anything. He noticed in a dim part of his mind that his headache was gone, and his stomach seemed to have settled. He didn't think it was the Charm. They were quiet for another long stretch of time, during which Harry got up and made lunch. When he sat down, he looked up at the shelf and asked, "What do you have all those books for anyway, if you don't think they're useful?"
Lupin shrugged. "I thought I might see about becoming qualified as a Muggle teacher."
"A Muggle teacher?"
"They rarely pay attention to the werewolf laws," Lupin said dryly.
"That's a good idea then..."
Lupin sighed. "It was. Unfortunately, I missed too many classes that I couldn't explain." He shrugged. "It's just as well. There's too much to do with the war on." He started to say something else, but seemed to change his mind.
"You should come back to Hogwarts," Harry said for the fifth time that summer. "Before the Ministry sticks us with someone else."
"That's not my choice to make."
"It's a stupid law. It wasn't your fault."
"Harry, it was my fault," Lupin said sharply. "You need to understand that. It was my fault."
Harry looked down at his sandwich and picked at the crusts of the bread. Anyone who'd been there--except Snape of course--knew that it hadn't been Lupin's fault, but he never listened. "Even if it was, it was two years ago, and a lot was happening that night."
"It doesn't matter how much is--"
"And really, even if you did forget your Wolfsbane, you didn't hurt anyone--"
"Harry, none of that--"
"--and the only people you even chased were Hermione and me, and we weren't supposed to be out any more than you were, and if we hadn't been, then you wouldn't have been, and then--"
"--you would still be there, and you wouldn't be talking about getting some Muggle certificate, and--"
"--it's my fault, really as much as yours." Harry looked up.
Lupin was giving him a quizzical look, then he just shook his head. "Harry, that's the most foolish notion I've heard from you yet. Eat your lunch."
Moodily, Harry tore into his sandwich. "It's just," he said as soon as he'd swallowed, "that you should be teaching."
Lupin smiled at him fondly and said, "I am."